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An Empire for Liberty

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 2 months, 3 weeks ago



 An Empire for Liberty: Roots of American Imperialism [1867 to 1898]

Ever since the 1790’s, U.S. foreign policy had been centered on expanding westward, protecting U.S. interests abroad, 
and limiting foreign influences in the Americas.  The booming post civil war economy created the basis for a major shift in U.S relations with the rest of the world





Imperialism integrates nicely into our recently explored topics and themes

1. Industrialization and economic transformation (Age of industry)



2. Issues of race and how it structures perceptions and policy (immigration policies and restrictions)


3. The power of ideas  (Social thought in the Gilded Age)  



All of theses threads feed into a trans formative event – an old fashion exploration of history  - the Spanish American War (1898). The United States is beginning the transformation from a locally concerned smaller nation to a larger nation on the verge of becoming a world power. 



A Review of American Expansion and Conquest





Q? To what extent was late 19th century and early 20th century US expansionism a continuation of past expansionism and to what extent was it a departure?



The United States goes from looking INWARD to looking OUTWARD.  This includes a national conversation concerning ideas and opinions that will impact the United States other countries. U.S. should be expanding abroad and using its economic strengths and growing population to foster this expansion


Who is promoting this idea?
Elites (intellectuals, writers, businessmen with trade connections, and politicians)  WHY? 


Why are elites promoting this idea?

Most Americans are narrowly focused on the US because they lack foreign travel experience or aren’t interested.  However, when this small segment of the population begins to look outward it gains a lot of support 


Why does this idea gain momentum?

Adventure, glamorizing and romanticizing empire building 


Imperialism...  a R.I.P.E idea

a policy of extending a country's power and influence through diplomacy or military force.



Image result for eagle + imperialism cartoon 




Religious: During imperial expansion, religious people sometimes set out to convert new members of their religion and, thus, their empire.


Ideological: Inferior races need be conquered in order to “civilize” them


Political: Empires sought strategic territory to ensure access for their navies and armies around the world. [Power, Prestige and Patriotism]


Economic: Economic expansion demanded cheap labor and access to or control of new markets



Wheat Production up 256%

Corn Production up 222%

Refined Sugar up 460%

Coal up 800%

Oil 3 million to 55 million barrells

Steekl Rails up 523%

Miles of RR tracks up 567%




An Empire for Liberty: Roots of American Imperialism

The booming post-civil war economy created the basis for 
a major shift in U.S relations with the rest of the world


Alfred Thayer Mahan (1890)


Columbian Exposition (1893)


Frederick Jackson Turner (1893)












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